(EDIT: Here's a link, if you're interested. -- PV)
1. How do you feel about where the Hawkeyes are as a team?
Disappointed. This was supposed to be the year where Iowa hung around the top 10 all season and got their long-awaited trip to Pasadena. But, despite the fact that the team is loaded with seniors, they've clearly taken a step back from last season, and we're booking our flights to Florida for January 1. It's not often as an Iowa fan that you can be greatly disappointed in a season that ends in a New Year's Day bowl game. This is one of those times.
2. Stanzi and Clayborn are the obvious key players. Who else do the players build around to make plays?
On offense, everything runs through halfback Adam Robinson, who was on pace for 1200 yards rushing before missing the Indiana game with an injury. Derrell Johnson-Koulianos has broken nearly every career receiving record at Iowa (and don't forget, it's Senior Day) despite only this year becoming the definitive top target for Stanzi. On defense, watch for the safeties, Brett Greenwood and Tyler Sash, who both have a nose for overthrows.
3. What has to happen for Ohio State to beat Iowa, and vice versa?
Iowa needs turnovers from the Ohio State offense, more than anything. The last two weeks, Iowa's offense has had significant trouble putting together scoring drives. The short field would be extremely beneficial. As for Ohio State, Iowa's plan is going to be to stop Boom Herron and Terrelle Pryor on the ground and make OSU win through the air. If Posey and Sanzenbacher have big days, OSU wins big.
4. How much do you hate Northwestern? Honestly.
Hate is a binary state, and yes, I hate them. My list of people I hate right now has Pat Fitzgerald ranked somewhere between Brett Favre and Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
5. How does Iowa finish the season? (W/L, Bowl game)
I have them losing to Ohio State this week, beating Minnesota to close the regular season, and going to the Outback Bowl to kick the crap out of Mississippi State. Of course, they could win this week, win at Minnesota, and go to the Outback Bowl to kick the crap out of Mississippi State. What I'm saying is we're playing Mississippi State.
Wow, that question isn't loaded. OK, let me explain this to you guys: I understand the hostility over Ferentz winning Big Ten Coach of the Year twice when Tressel has never won. But "Coach of the Year" might as well be "Pleasantly Surprising Team of the Year," an award that's tough to win when you start every season in the AP top five. Heavy weighs the crown.
As for Ferentz, the buck stops there. Iowa has either led or been tied in the fourth quarter of all three of its losses (and its should-be fourth loss at Indiana two weeks ago) and had the defense collapse on itself in conceding long scoring drives in each game. That falls on a defensive staff that hasn't had a coordinator since mid-September -- Norm Parker had his foot amputated for diabetes-related issues -- and I suppose you can put it on Ferentz for having a coordinator who is old. But, in reality, it's a lack of execution by guys who had no such problems a year ago. Whether that's on coaching or the players, I leave to you.
7. Who gets the Rose Bowl bid?
Wisconsin. They're the best team, too. Sorry. (Ed. Note: No problem, we got beat down by Wisconsin, we can't say we're better than them)
8. Jim Tressel - What do you think of him?
I like Tressel. I like his demeanor. I like his philosophy. I like his fashion sense. He's an undeniably great coach, and he probably deserves a Coach of the Year award at some point. Of course, this year it's going to Mark Dantonio, even though Dantonio missed like half of his team's games after a heart attack. Life's a bitch and then you die.
9. Iowa (supposedly) is out of the Big Ten championship race. What are the Hawkeyes playing for?
It's Senior Day for the largest and most decorated senior class at Iowa since 2004, so that will be the primary motivation. I'd say playing for the chance to knock Ohio State out of the Big Ten race, but given this team's hype, I don't think playing the spoiler is in their DNA. So it's Senior Day and the chance to guarantee they won't have to spend New Year's Eve in Jacksonville. Because have you been to Jacksonville? People who live in Jacksonville don't even spend the holidays in Jacksonville.
10. Finally, who wins and why?
Ohio State, because they'll score more points than Iowa. The defenses are comparable in nearly every metric. The offenses aren't. There's your difference. OSU by 4.